“What’s Happening!!” is next up on TV One’s “Unsung: Hollywood” to premiere on Wednesday, March 12. It was a popular ABC show from debuted in 1976 that followed three LA teens. The friends included Raj (Ernest Thomas), Dwayne (Haywood Nelson), and Rerun (Fred Berry) where they spent most of their time at their local restaurant, Rob’s Place. With Raj’s mother and sister, played by Mabel King and Danielle Spencer, “What’s Happening!!” had a winning cast.
The show, created by Eric Monte, was based off of the movie, “Cooley High.” It was meant to be an alternative to the white shows that were out at the time, such as “Eight is Enough” and “The Waltons,” according to Ebony. Co-producer, Bud Yorkin spoke on the show’s popularity in 1978. “Whites and blacks have laughed at Archie Bunker for the first two or three weeks, but then they got involved with the character. The kids on ‘What’s Happening!!’ is no different than mine or any other kids. And judging by the amount of mail that we get, the show has a lot of fans.”
The audience really took to the chemistry between the cast, and the catchphrases (“hey, hey hey”!) they could incorporate in their vernacular. Despite the show’s popularity, it was canceled in 1979 after three seasons.
Watch the preview below:
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